When creating a film, three things are certain: an idea, a camera, and money. Financing a film project is just as difficult as shooting a movie. However, with the creation of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indigo, it’s become easier for filmmakers to realize their cinematic dreams.
The moviemaking business is no joke. Filmmakers are out there every day, creating entertainment and sometimes thought-provoking art. But, whether you’re the next Steven Spielberg or the next Chloé Zhao, your project will not get off the ground without a bit of help from the “all mighty dollar.” Fortunately for many upcoming and veteran filmmakers, there are ways to finance your film project without big studios who might stifle your creative process.
Crowdfunding a film is a great way to have complete creative control over your project and helps get the word out to moviegoers and distributors. With these helpful tips for financing your project with crowdfunding, you’re just another step closer to accomplishing your artistic vision.
An essential step in the crowdfunding journey is creating a plan that will lead the film project to the goals you are striving to reach. First, consider the minimum and maximum amount of funding you will need to complete your film on a shoestring budget. Your budget will need to cover pay for your actors, crew, location, and equipment. Will you spend your money on a crew or actors or rely on volunteers for their time? Can you borrow equipment like mics, cameras, and other filmmaking tools, or is renting or buying equipment an option? Finally, the best-suited crowdfunding site will give you the best exposure and help you reach your campaigning goals. As always, researching is also your best friend in finding these answers.
Crowdfunding short and independent films are nothing new. Many past campaigns exist where future filmmakers can learn the “do’s” and “don’ts.” Map out what works and doesn’t for short or independent film funding before moving to your campaign’s beginning stages.
The crowdfunding landscape has changed drastically over the years online. Many filmmakers are out there hoping to share their cinematic ideas with audiences. Fortunately, this has allowed artists to find the best-suited campaign platform for their needs. However, not all platforms are the same. Sites like Kickstarter require filmmakers to reach their fixed financial goal within a specific timeframe to receive funding. Others like Indiegogo will allow creatives to keep any donations they’ve gathered without meeting a goal.
Seed & Spark is more catered specifically to filmmakers because of the immersed filming community connected with the site. The site’s staff also gives direct feedback on creatives’ campaigns before their allowed to launch to fine-tune their efforts better. Slated is a campaign site comprising investors, writers, actors, producers, and distributors. In addition, the site offers tools like Financial and Script Analysis to showcase the amount of success a story could have in the film market.
One thing to consider is the lifespan of the crowdfunding campaign. Most sites have the options for 30, 45, 60, or 90-day campaign runs, but 30 or 45 days are the most optimum. Any longer and your campaign will more than likely run out of steam or lose backers’ interest. On the other hand, the movement should hit the ground running with ample time to give it a higher chance of success and generate excitement and urgency among potential donors.
Part of any campaign is to promote, promote, and promote! Getting your film out there in the immense sea of the internet is an overwhelming task but worth it once interest and backers start to come in. The first step is to produce accounts across all major social media platforms for your campaign and your project. Finding organic audiences interested in short and independent films through social media groups, online forums, and publications like Medium is an excellent way to lure interest to your project. Part of those efforts will also lead to more interaction with your crowd.
Crowd interaction is one of the critical factors in bringing awareness to your campaign and film project. Potential backers want to know every step of the way of your artistic endeavors. A filmmaker can do this by staying on top of the creative progress and updating that progress feed weekly. Ways to keep crowds interested can come in video content, going live on social media regularly, and behind-the-scenes footage from the set. Being transparent on your campaign journey will help build trust between you and your potential backers and could be beneficial in the long run.
Backer and investors are essential in financing your project, but other avenues are worth checking out before doing so. Grants are available—with specific requirements—from many filming and artistic establishments, and applying for those can give you a leg up on your budget needs. After exploring that route, it’s time to start searching for investors. Collecting investors is the opportunity to showcase your plans and goals for your movie to reach. Potential investors will want to know where and how your work will go across as many markets as possible. Investors can come in the form of family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else who wants to be involved in the film business. Remember to give your donors regular updates on your campaigning and filming project.
Part of gaining investors and backing is pitching.
There are specific ways to create a solid pitch. To foster a successful crowdfunding campaign, make a short pitch video explaining why people should invest in your project. The short video doesn’t necessarily have to be big and flashy. Passion, brevity, and clear communication are crucial when making your pitch video in hopes of connecting with donors. Write an outline that shows who you are, what your film is about, why you’re making it, and why you need investors or backers. Remember that an ideal short video should be three to four minutes at max and stay professional. Besides video pitching, incentives are another great way to get backers.
Incentives or perks will get backers to give your film project their hard-earned dollars. This area allows the filmmaker to get creative with their rewards. A t-shirt with the production logo is not wrong, but backers tend to want more. Special incentives, limited edition posters, digital or physical copies, and concept art are readily obtainable for those who wish to donate on lower tiers of the perks list. Other perk ideas include tickets to the movie’s premiere, a walk-on role, a day on-set, or special acknowledgment in the film’s credits. Any high roller would love to see their name get Executive Producer credit in a movie. Being inventive with these ideas can go a long way in getting the amount needed for your budget.
Whenever you have the necessary pieces to make your short or feature independent film, consider using ProCal. With the ever-evolving production schedules, it’s critical to use technology that allows the user to get the job done at production speed. So schedule your productions and share effortlessly with your team. Anytime. Anywhere. ProCal is simple, and Revolution Entertainment Services offers support to train your staff and provide upgrades based on your company’s needs.
Many fail to understand what’s involved and often make mistakes that kill a campaign before it’s had a chance even to get going. Researching and employing strategic efforts will help your campaign stand out from the crowd, fund your project, and allow you to tell the compelling story waiting to get out. Keep up that momentum, and you’ll have investors and studios banging on your door in no time.